You don't even know me and I bet you're shocked I make baby food. Well, sister, nobody's more surprised than me. After all, I've never even made adult food.
Shortly before the girls turned six months old, I sent my husband out to Jewel because I've successfully faked a nervous disorder related to the grocery store. The list included baby-friendly items like sweet potatoes and butternut squash. He was understandably confused so I explained my plans to make all of the twins' food myself. He laughed, crossed out these items and wrote in big letters: JARS OF BABY FOOD. In his defense, I often claim I'm going to do things I don't actually do: Write a book. Go to the gym. Get a divorce.
"What, you don't think I can do it?!" I shouted. "It's easy!"
"So is boiling some damn pasta for dinner, but you don't do that." Oh, he didn't actually say that, mind you. He's too terrified of me to say something like that. But I know he was thinking it.
I visited wholesomebabyfood.com and set out to make recipes like "squashy sweet potatoes" and "banana-cado surprise." The site has helpful tips for adding "a little extra yum!" like sprinkling cinnamon atop an otherwise flavorless vat of pureed oatmeal or "a little extra cling!" to too-thin mixtures by stirring in some rice cereal. I tried not to let the blatant enthusiasm denoted by rampant exclamation points deter me.
Within a day I had a freezer-full of little cubes of food and a new smug attitude. I could finally join that elusive club of breast-feeding baby-wearing Earth mothers. I MADE MY OWN BABY FOOD. I suddenly wanted to grow my hair past my ass and hug a tree.
This self-congratulatory mode lasted about a week, when I went to retrieve a few cubes of "blueberry avocado fiesta" and it was gone. All of it. No more "yummy pumpko-passion" or "perfectly peachy parfait" and it occurred to me: Who the hell do I think I am? Gerber has been doing this for thousands of years. It's the reason their last name is on a bunch of jars of baby food and mine isn't. Who am I to mess with perfection? It's like those people who make brownies from scratch. You think you can do it better than Betty Crocker? If so, why isn't YOUR name on that box while you sit ass in Mexico downing margaritas and collecting royalties?
I ventured out and bought a case of Earth's Best baby food. It's organic so I figured I could retain a certain sense of smugness -- and over-priced -- so it's probably better than homemade. The girls took one look and refused to take a bite. I then tried to trick them by scooping it out of the jar and into a bowl. No can do. So, now, months later, I'm still making purees and homemade recipes like I'm Alton Brown or that Barefoot Contessa or one of those other Food Network freaks. And you know why? Because I tried too hard. And you know what the lesson here is? Don't try so hard. Because when you change your mind you're stuck making banana-applesauce pancakes once per week and your freezer is stuffed with frozen cubes you can't even use for a mid-day pina colada.
PS -- Notice the Halloween-themed place mat? This was at Christmas time. My kids, as previously noted, are obsessed with Halloween items. I hope they're not going to be one of those Goth people who want to hook up with guys who look like Marilyn Manson. I want them to bring home cute wholesome sorts that mommy will enjoy looking at (if, given her advancing age, she can still see by then).